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Zuniga a coward for Neymar challenge, slams Silva

AFP
Brazil's forward Neymar reacts on the ground after being injured following a foul by Colombia's defender Juan Camilo Zuniga (L) at the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 4, 2014
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Brazil's forward Neymar reacts on the ground after being injured following a foul by Colombia's defender Juan Camilo Zuniga (L) at the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 4, 2014 (AFP Photo/Fabrizio Bensch)

Belo Horizonte (Brazil) (AFP) - Brazil captain Thiago Silva branded Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga a coward on Monday for the tackle which put star striker Neymar out of the World Cup.

"In my opinion it was a cowardly tackle," the Paris Saint-Germain defender said on the eve of his side's World Cup semi-final against Germany on Tuesday.

"I am a defender, I know how to mark a player and there is no way you can get the ball by putting a knee in the back.

"It is not something that comes about in a normal match situation."

FIFA turned down a request from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to ban Zuniga on Monday because the incident had been seen by the match officials at the time and no action was taken.

Silva will miss the match against the Germans in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday after FIFA also turned down the CBF's appeal against his yellow card in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia on Friday.

The 29-year-old was booked 25 minutes from time with Brazil leading 1-0 through his early strike for impeding Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.

"In no moment did I intend to take the ball from the goalkeeper. I was trying so hard not to commit any fouls, the only foul I remember was the yellow card and it is very difficult to miss the game," he added.

"But I really trust the players on the pitch. No matter the 11 players we will be well represented."

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